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Florida House Subcommittee Approves Bill Changing Expert Testimony Standards

BY: ERIC GIUNTA  | Posted: February 13, 2013 6:31 PM

The Florida House Civil Justice Subcommittee has just approved PCB CJS 13-02 ("Expert Testimony") along a 9-4 party-line vote.

If approved by the full House and the Senate, the bill would change the standards by which Florida judges admit expert testimony. Under the current "Frye" standard, expert witness testimony can only be admitted if it is "sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs." The proposed bill would align Florida's courts to the federal "Daubert" standard, which admits expert testimony so long as the judge finds it to be based on scientifically sound principles.

Florida is one of only 10 states that adheres to the older "Frye" standard. 

"Florida's courtroom standard for scientific evidence is 90 years old. Science has come a long way since then, and so should the law," William Large, president of the Florida Justice Reform Institute, told Sunshine State News after the committee vote. "We applaud the House Civil Justice Subcommittee for introducing PCB CJS 13-02, which adopts the fact-based standard used in all federal courts, and we urge the Legislature to pass this measure and put certainty back into Florida's courtrooms."

Should Florida change its expert testimony standards? Stay tuned to SSN as we interview players on all sides of this debate to let you, the readers, decide.

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